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8/15/2017 6:19 AM
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See preceding page for earlier entries on 8/15/17. I was not aware there had been a page change.

The headline says "Day 1 without migrants: For the first time, no boat arrives on our shores. Funds to the military to block the traffickers"

Antonio Socci shared the above with his readers with this comment:

Did they not say it is impossible to stop migration, that it would be like trying to stop the wind with one's hand?
Instead, all it took was a cry for help from Minniti.

And not having really kept abreast of how the immigration crisis has been developing in Italy, I had to look up who or what 'Minniti' was.
With great help from the New York Times, which ran a profile on him last August 4.

Note the NYT's related stories on the right, which appear to be a snapshot of the crisis as it is, even seen by the NYT, and not, as the pope
deceptively passes it off, a humanitarian crisis for which, he says, 'the world is to blame' and all hands must be on deck to pluck
the intending migrants from the Mediterranean and bring them into Italy as welcome guests.

Anyway, here is how the NYT story on Minniti begins:

ROME — During a visit to Moscow in 1980, Marco Minniti, a bald and bold young functionary in the Italian Communist Party, mortified his comrades by asking a Red Army general why the Soviets had occupied Afghanistan. The general pointed south on a map and explained that the faraway land mattered for his country’s national security.

Now, decades later, it is Mr. Minniti, Italy’s powerful interior minister and the hard-nosed veteran of its intelligence apparatus, who is looking south — but to Africa, which he calls the “mirror of Europe.”

A mass migration streaming up Africa, through Libya and across the Mediterranean — enabled by human traffickers and exploited by political populists — poses an existential challenge to his center-left government, not to mention his country and continent. [But Bergoglio resolutely plays blind to this!]

To stem the flow of migrants — and the potential infiltration of terrorists — Mr. Minniti, a 61-year-old former communist, is calling on his vast government experience, Calabrian brio and the sub-rosa relationships he developed as Italy’s “Lord of the Spies.”

“I know, let’s say, many things,” Mr. Minniti said with a sly smile in an interview this week in his office in Rome, surrounded by bookcases filled with tomes about espionage and religious fanaticism.

According to Nicola Latorre, an Italian senator and ally of the minister, Mr. Minniti was the “protagonist of the breakthrough” last week, when Prime Minister Fayez Serraj of Libya requested the support of Italian naval ships to counter human trafficking.

It is a risky endeavor that Italy has nevertheless sought for years, desperate to cut the migrant flow. Its success or failure now falls to Mr. Minniti, who polls show to be a popular member of a government with uncertain chances in the next election…

This, then, is the context in which Riccardo Cascioli wrote the ff commentary recently on the perverse statements and actions of the Church hierarchy in Italy which takes its cues directly from the pope:

Immigrants and NGOs, and all the lies
surrounding the campaign of 'indiscriminate welcome'

by Riccardo Cascioli
Translated from

The NGOs that operate in the Mediterranean "must not only be defended but must be praised" because today, the first priority is to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea and that is what they are doing. Moreover, "it is wrong to link the NGOs to the activity of the scafisti" [those who operate the tiny unsafe boats (scafi) on which most immigrants are transported from North Africa towards Europe].

This was the position expressed in an interview published in La Repubblica yesterday, August 7, by Mons. Giancarlo Perego, Archbishop of Ferrara and former director of the CEI's Fondazione Migrantes. And the same Perego also justifies the NGOs' rebellion against having the Italian military present on their 'rescue ships' at the request of the Italian government.

His statements are certainly consistent with the line of welcoming all immigrants at all costs that the Italian bishops' conference (CEI) has had from the start on this issue, but they defy reality and contradict the condemnation of human trafficking against which the pope has been railing!

This is an ideological position, and like every ideological position, it feeds on confusion and wrong data to justify itself.

Meanwhile, confusion! Mons, Perego, like the CEI leadership [and the pope and his Vatican], does not see a difference between regular and irregular immigration, as if there were no standards of international law which govern and protect those who have a right to immigrate and those who have the right to be given refugee status.

The Social Doctrine of the Church tells us that the right to emigrate from one's own country is not an absolute right in that it does not automatically give you the right to enter another country. Because individual governments also have the right and the duty to regulate immigration.

The other confusion is between the migrant who is genuinely a refugee fleeing persecution and those who are migrating for economic reasons. Refugees must be welcomed, but the second category do not have such an entitlement. It is obvious that the CEI and some Catholic NGOs would like to nullify this distinction and advocate welcoming all immigrants without ifs or buts, even if this is a position that not only is not justified by the social doctrine of the Church, but it is also goes against all reason.

It has been estimated that potentially, 100 million persons from sub-Saharan Africa could move to Europe in the next ten years 'for economic reasons'. Who, with a grain of sense in his brain, could think that it is reasonable to incentivize such a movement?

Besides, to start making and enforcing these distinctions is already a first step towards resolving the problem. For years, for instance, we have been proposing that 'free zones' be established in Libya under the UN Commission for Refugees, in which it can first be established who among the boat people deserve to immigrate and therefore ought to be protected during their travel, and who should be sent back to their home countries.

Now finally, this is being discussed, even if quietly for now. To consider that all immigrants are 'equal' is to encourage migration to the point of prejudicing the case of those persons who are genuinely fleeing war or persecution have the right to be welcomed.

Increasing the confusion are wrong data. Mons. Perego claims that "most of the migrants who are corssing the Meidterranean are doing so to escape from Libyan imprisonment, from violences, from increasingly terrible rapes" and that therefore, they must be brought to safety in Italy. Of course, even getting to the Libyan coast is no excursion, because most of these migrants do not come from Libya. They come from farther inland than North Africa.

If we look at the nationality of those who landed in Italy so far in 2017, from data provided by the UN, the most numerous are the Nig erians (14.8%), followed by those from Guinea (9.6%), the Ivory Coast (9%), and Bangladesh (8.6%). These origins clearly indicate that the reason for the migration, in almost the totality of cases, is economic. Syria, the only country of origin about which one can speak of genuine refugees, accounts for only 6.5% of the arrivals in 2017.

Mons. Perego also claims that the activity of the NGOs in the Mediterranean has allowed saving more lives. Sorry for the bishop, but the reality contradicts him. According to the UN, in 2016, a record 5,022 attempting migrants were documented to have drowned in the Mediterranean. In the first seven months of 2017, the number is already 2,398. These numbers do not reflect the lack of boats to save them [the Italian Navy has mobilized its ships over the past three years to look after these] but rather the politics of 'welcome all immigrants' that is incentivizing the migrant flow which has increased this year.

We have already pointed out many times: The more Italian ships are deployed near the Libyan coast, the more the human traffickers step up sending people over, generally in unsafe vessels that are not meant to stay out at sea for days, thus multiplying the risks for these boat people.

One cannot therefore understand why Mons. Perego claims that the presence of the Italian military on board the rescue ships of the NGOs makes it more difficult to save lives! Unless, their rescue efforts involve actions that violate the law. And so we come to the accusations of complicity between the NGOs and the scafisti (in short, human traffickers).

That there have been heavy suspicions of direct contacts between at least some of the NGOs and the scafisti has been in the news, since there are inquiries under way and already abundant documentation. But even if ultimately, no direct responsibility is established, there is no doubt that the activities of the NGOs who have been incentivizing migrant departures from the Libyan coast have contributed definitively to the illicit activities of the scafisti and those who manipulate them.

And it is in this, perhaps, that is the most imocmprehensible about the attitude of so many Italian Church authorities like Mons. Perego. Direction of the migrant traffic is clearly in the hands of organized international crime which encourages the deparrture of migrants from their countries of origin and then manage and control their 'passage' towards Italy, pocketing thousands of euros for every clandestine they transport.

But how is it possible then to thunder – as do some Church leaders, rightly – against human trafficking, while also doing everything to encourage it?

Next, therefore, I had to find out who are these NGOs – which a Reuters story identifies, although its point of view is that of the NGOs…

More NGOs follow MSF in suspending
Mediterranean migrant rescues

By Gavin Jones

ROME, August 13, 2014 (Reuters) - Two more aid groups have suspended migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, joining Doctors Without Borders, because they felt threatened by the Libyan coastguard.

Save the Children and Germany's Sea Eye said on Sunday their crews could no longer work safely because of the hostile stance of the Libyan authorities. Doctors Without Borders - or Medecins sans Frontieres - cited the same concern when it said on Saturday it would halt Mediterranean operations.

"We leave a deadly gap in the Mediterranean," Sea Eye's founder Michael Busch Heuer warned on Facebook, adding that Libya had issued an "explicit threat" against non-government organisations operating in the area around its coast.

Libyan coastguard boats have repeatedly clashed with NGO vessels on the edge of Libyan waters, sometimes opening fire. The coastguard has defended such actions, saying the shooting was to assert control over rescue operations.

"In general, we do not reject (NGO) presence, but we demand from them more cooperation with the state of Libya ... they should show more respect to the Libyan sovereignty," coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters on Sunday.

Tension has also been growing for weeks between aid groups and the Italian government, which has suggested some NGOs are facilitating people smuggling, while Italy is trying to enhance the role of the Libyan coastguard in blocking migrant departures.

This month, Italy began a naval mission in Libyan waters to provide technical and operational support to its coastguard, despite opposition from factions in eastern Libya that oppose the U.N.-backed government based in Tripoli.

Immigration is dominating Italy's political agenda before elections early next year, with public opinion increasingly hostile to migrants. Almost 600,000 migrants have arrived in Italy over the past four years.

Most sailed from lawless Libya in flimsy vessels operated by people smugglers. More than 13,000 migrants have died trying to make the crossing.

Ships manned by charities have played a growing role in rescues, picking up more than a third of all migrants brought ashore so far this year, compared with less than one percent in 2014.

Aid groups and some Italian politicians warn that migrants intercepted by the Libyan coast guard are taken back to inhuman conditions in detention camps on the Libyan mainland.

However, prosecutors in Sicily have opened investigations against some NGOs, which they suspect of collaborating with people smugglers, and Rome has proposed a Code of Conduct setting stricter rules on how the groups can operate.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in a newspaper interview on Sunday that Libya's growing role in controlling its waters was curbing people trafficking and producing a welcome "readjustment" in the Mediterranean.

Libya was trying to increase the range of the waters its ships controlled from 12 nautical miles around its coast to 70 nautical miles, the humanitarian organisation said.

All of the above, in turn, give the proper context to the following posts by Marco Tosatti on his blog in the past two days:

Reader 'Pezzo Grosso' aims high:
He asks CEI president Bassetti
for the head of Galantino over
the latter's statement on immigration'

Translated from

August 13, 2017

I thought that Pezzo Grosso [Italian for 'Big Shot'] was on vacation enjoying a merited rest. Instead, he sent us an e-mail on the Ferragosto weekend. [Ferragosto is the Italian term for the mid-August holiday usually centered around the Feast of the Assumption.] Prompted, as you will see, by the words of great wisdom that we heard from the Italian episcopate in recent months on the thorny issue of clandestines or 'immigrants' - however you prefer to call them - and the human trafficking directed towards Italian coasts, a source of economic profits for some quarters we know of, and which does not exclude ecclesial circles (on the contrary!)… But here is the letter from Pezzo Grosso:

Pezzo Grosso to Tosatti, asking him to publish an open letter to [Cardinal Gualtiero] Bassetti [appointed president of the Italian bishops' conference earlier this year by Pope Francis].

So it seems Mons. Bassetti read my commenys on Stilum Curiae and shares my analysis and suggestions. Well, bravo, Your Eminence! But that's not enough. In order that your statement about these migrants does not just seem like a power play between you and your secretary, Mons. Galantino, you should do more. And you must do so, otherwise we will all harbor the suspicion - already insinuated – that in order to placate everyone, the Church will continue to use the strategy of 'NI NI, SO SO', rather than the 'SI is SI' (YES is YES) and 'NO is NO' advised by the Founder of Christianity.

Instead the 'NI NI, SO SO' strategy appears to have been adoptred by this pontificate on every occasion. Contradictory or ambivalent messages are the fashion in this pontificate, where even 'corrections' are confusing. And this takes place at the level of the universal Church, in which Parolin 'corrects' Bergoglio, or at the Italian level, where Bassetti 'corrects' Galantino.

But the Secretary of State cannot dismiss the pope, whereas the president of the CEI can – and should – dismiss his secretary. [Not really! Being that Galantino was appointed by Bergoglio to the CEI as his in-house agent, three years before Bassetti, a trusted Bergoglian, was appointed to succeed Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, a suspect Ratzingerian, does Bassetti really have any say over Galantino???] Otherwise, dear Cardinal Bassetti, you too would give the impression of wanting to please everybody but only disappointing all!

One cannot just make contradictory and opposing statements to give the appearance of 'pluralism' when in fact, they are simply contradictory over what is good and what is bad, what is correct and what is wrong. If you really wish to do good for migrants, for the poorest and most vulnerable of Italian citizens, and for the Church herself, you should now dismiss Galantino.

With effects that you yourself will not believe: The CEI will regain its prestige, and the church tax revenue from the government will increase that the bishops may use for evangelization not for 'social' purposes.

Cardinal Bassetti had spoken correctly of the ethics of responsibility. We would like to ask how many lives – of those intending migrants who perished at sea – would have been saved if, instead of encouraging with words and gestures the indiscriminate landing of undocumented aliens in Italy, our government – and the bishops along with the Primate of Italy, namely, the pope – had instead counseled following immigration laws which all countries in the world have, and which most of them enforce?

Is there no responsibility among them for all that is happening, or do so-called good intentions (well-watered by financial gain) suffice to placate their conscience? [I still have to find out who in Italy is gaining from human trafficking and how!] If I were one of the preachers advocating unbridled unconditional immigration, I would feel a small worm of doubt wriggling in my conscience, maybe even a big rat, or at least a hamster.

Migrants and the responsibility
of the Church and the bishops

Translated from

August 14, 2017

I asked myself if perhaps I was too harsh in my commentary yesterday on Pezzo Grosso's letter. But today, I see that the former president of the Chamber of Deputies Luciano Violante (one regrets he no longer is!) [the current president, Laura Boldroni, is a most pro-active advocate of unconditional immigration] says that the Italian left has "lost its contact with the people" and "has confused the politically correct for the politically practical, politics with aesthetics" in dealing with the immigration issue. He cites one of the comments to my post yesterday, which I quote here in full: [The comment was from someone who turns out to be the blogger responsible for the blogsite 'Ecclesia afflicta'.]

“Bassetti said to Avvenire: "You should know that there is not one woman among the migrants welcomed to Italy who has not been raped! And do you know that all of these migrants are continually threatened with drowning if they do not give in to the true and proper mafias who manage this traffic of immigrants?"

So now the CEI is discovering that the traffic in humans that has been protected and promoted till now [Galantino's campaign of "Free to leave and free to stay"] involves an insane price in human lives? What about the pope who day by day ideologically promotes mass migration even against the opinion of the bishops in the countries from where the migrants come? Who and what has really been feeding the desperate course of thousands of intending migrants of whom hundreds have died at sea just this year in trying to reach Italy?

The ones principally responsible for this chaos are the Pope and his proconsuls like Galantino. Bassetti has simply sniffed the air and is now realizing that Italians are tired of the ideological silliness propagated by the Vatican and the Italian bishops. Silliness inflicted on the skins of Africans and Italians.

This papacy is a disaster: Pope Francis does not even seem to be aware of the damages he is causing. He is too full of himself ( the Holy See has just authorized the sale of T-shirts showing 'Bergoglio Super-Pope to generate more funds for Peter's Pence), the Petrine ministry has become a farce, but a tragic farce. We are seeing the cost of the ideological vacuity of this old Jesuit deficient in culture and bloated with arrogant ideology, but the author of the tragedy will never accept he is responsible for it.

[Wow! Harsh words worthy of Mundabor!]

One must ask nonetheless why the Church, at the central level, and in Italy, has not listened to the negative comments of the bishops from the African countries, and from the government leaders of those countries who have warned us that it is 'the dregs' of their society who are seeking to reach Europe. So all that talk of synodality and of decentralization do not count at all in this case?

Was it – and is it - difficult to see the network of interests, from the criminal to the geopolitical to the simple economic or ambiguous, of those who are responsible for pulling the strings in this puppet show, taking advantage of the political and cultural weaknesses of this nation which aspears to have been devastated in terms of brains and common sense, above everything else?

The Church, at its central level, if properly warned by local bishops, should be able to see who and what are really behind the 'man at sea' scenario. And be most vigilant, if only she employs the wisdom and prudence she has had for centuries. Unless…
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/15/2017 4:24 PM]
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